Contact hander Peter’s calm head averts a storm drama - The Worcester Observer

Contact hander Peter’s calm head averts a storm drama

Worcester Editorial 27th Oct, 2023   0

A LIFE-SAVING West Mercia Police contact handler has been praised by a man trapped in his car in flood waters caused by Storm Babet who thought he was ‘staring death in the face’.

Peter Bridges, from Worcester, who works in the force’s operations and communications centre (OCC), answered a 999 call on Saturday (October 21) from a man who was stranded in the River Teme at Eastham, near Tenbury Wells.

Gary Bowman, who now lives in Ludlow, was travelling from his home to the Worcestershire Parkway station to catch a train to watch Leeds United play Norwich City at Carrow Road when he was caught in the rising water levels.

Peter. who has been a contact handler for the force for just 13 months, remained on the phone with Mr Bowman for over an hour while police officers and other emergency services located him.

During that time, Peter used his skills to keep Mr Bowman engaged to obtain key information.

He reassured him in very difficult circumstances, kept him calm and was able to direct rescue services to him. Gary is now recovering at home from his ordeal.

“I want to say thank you to Peter for all he did for me. He is an absolute diamond,” he said.

“I thought I was staring death in the face as the water level got higher in my car but Peter kept me calm and helped me get through it all.”

Head of Operations, Chief Supt Gareth Morris, said: “This is one example of the truly fantastic work our public contact teams deliver every minute, of everyday, 365 days a year.

“They deal with incident after incident and it takes a very special set of qualities to show patience, professionalism, compassion and efficiency to support communities and people in their time of need.

“The calls our team receive are often distressing and very challenging and I would like to thank Peter in the way he handled this incident.

“It took time to locate the man and Peter kept him engaged to obtain key information.

“He reassured him in very difficult circumstances and was able to direct rescue services to him. Thankfully the man is recovering at home from his ordeal”.

The dramatic incident took place as Storm Babet battered Worcestershire on Friday, flooding a number of roads across Worcester and Malvern and causing the River Severn to again burst its banks.

Worcester Racecourse was forced to abandon the scheduled racing card on Wednesday (October 25) after the course was flooded while Worcester City Council’s car parks at Pitchcroft, Croft Road, Cattlemarket, Newport Street and Tybridge Street were all affected by flooding.

The sporting calendar was also severely hit with both Worcester City and Worcester Raiders FA Vase clashes postponed because of waterlogged pitches.

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